How to (Almost) Kill a Successful Project and then Bring It Back to Life: Lessons Learned from the Xen Project

Short Form


In the decade the Xen Project has been in existence, it has seen great success. It also almost collapsed because of certain community and business decisions. We will deliver lessons learned so that other projects can avoid these pitfalls.


The Xen Project has been producing open source virtualization technologies for the past 10 years. It currently enables some of the largest clouds in the industry. However, decisions made on both the community and business fronts a few years back nearly caused the Xen Project to collapse on itself. Through a series of corrective actions, Xen is once again moving forward with major advances and a growing community. We will discuss some of the lessons learned from this experience, including lessons from both community and business vantage points. We will also focus on maintaining a healthy relationship between a community and a business entity as a means of keeping a project vibrant.

Speaking experience

Speaker at over 40 open source conferences, including multiple times at OSCON and LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. Also, former panelist on The Linux Show weekly webcast.


  • Russell Pavlicek

    Xen Project


    Russell Pavlicek is a well-regarded speaker, author, columnist and web-radio personality in the Open Source community. He has published over 150 pieces on Open Source, including one book and columns in two industry magazines. He has spoken at over 40 conferences, including OSCON and LinuxWorld, and was a weekly panelist on “The Linux Show” webcast. He is now an evangelist for the Xen project for Citrix Systems.